Nasir al-Din al-Tusi – Muslim Astronomer and Mathematician

In the Islamic history, we find various influential personalities, who have contributed immensely to the discipline of mathematics and science. One such influential name is Nasir al-Din al-Tusi. He was born in the 1201 CE, in Tus, which lies close to Meshed in north-eastern Iran. He was educated mainly at a religious establishment, which was supplemented by other subjects taught by his uncle.

Throughout his life, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi focused on such subjects as logic, physics and mathematics. At an early age, he moved to Nishapur, where he studied philosophy, medicine and mathematics. While in Nishapur, he gained the reputation of being an outstanding scholar and became well-known throughout the area.

He wrote a major astronomical treatise called, “Memoir on Astronomy.” In this book, he described a new model of lunar motion, and an invention of new geometric technique called “Tusi-couple” which generated linear motion from the sum of two circular motions. This technique was widely used by all the later astronomers including Copernicus.

One of al-Tusi’s most important mathematical contributions was the creation of trigonometry as a mathematical discipline in its own right, rather than just a tool for astronomical applications.

Al-Tusi wrote extensively on the subject of biology, and he was one of the first to advance the theory of biological evolution. He gave an explanation and argument to say that plants, then animals and then humans evolved; he also argued that heredity and variability were important factors for biological evolution. He gave this idea 600 years before Darwin. However, as opposed to Darwin, he presented his idea based on the Islamic philosophy that Allah (swt) created the world and then His creation developed under His guidance.

Al-Tusi was a great astronomer and mathematician, who also made contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, philosophy, medicine and theology.

Writer’s email: Aslamsyed1@yahoo.com

Abu Qasim ibn al-Zahrawi – Muslim Scientist and Thinker

General-Surgery

Abu Qasim ibn al-Zahrawi, also known in West as Abulcasis, was born in the town of al-Zahra, close to Cordoba, Spain, in 993 CE. His ancestors were Ansar Arabs, who settled in Spain in the 8th century. He lived most of his life in Cordoba, where he received his education. As he finished his education, he started teaching and practicing medicine. With his surgical skills, he became the physician of Caliph al-Hakim II in Cordoba. He died there in 1064 CE. The street where he lived is named after him (Calle Abulcasis), and his house has been preserved by the Spanish government in his honour.

Al-Zahrawi is considered to be the father of modern surgery. As a physician and surgeon, he also had an interest in chemistry and cosmetology. His 30-volume encyclopaedia of medical practices (“Kitab al-Tasrif”) is considered to be his greatest contribution in the field of medicine and surgery. The encyclopaedia included a large section on surgery and covered also such medical topics as orthopaedics, pharmacology, ophthalmology, nutrition, dentistry and childbirth.

Al-Zahrawi emphasized the importance of a good doctor-patient relationship and took great care to ensure the safety of his patients and win their trust irrespective of their social status. His clinical methods showed foresight and promoted close observation of patients. He warned against dubious practices adopted by some physicians for purposes of material gain and warned against deviation from medical ethics. He also cautioned against quacks, who claimed surgical skills they did not possess. His treatise contains many original observations of great interest in the field of medicine. He has given great importance to the causes and symptoms of diseases.

There is no doubt that al-Zahrawi was a rare genius in the field of medicine. His treatise was translated into Latin in the 12th century and became the standard book in the universities of Europe for the next 500 years. His book was the primary source of surgical knowledge for the European physicians and, thus, had a huge influence on their practice of surgery. Pietro Argallata, a 15th century European surgeon, says about him: “Without doubt, he was the chief of all surgeons.” Jaques Delechamps, another 16th century French surgeon, made extensive use of his treatise in his elaborate commentary, confirming the tremendous contributions of al-Zahrawi in the field of surgery.

Writer’s email: Aslamsyed1@yahoo.com

 

Who Should the Muslim Woman Look up to?

sb10063131x-001We live in the times, when a Muslim woman is constantly being questioned about her choices and challenged to raise or lower her status. She is being questioned for her choice to cover up or her choice to not do so. If she is covering, then she probably considers herself holier than thou, and people will take several steps away from her. If she is not covering, then she must be ridiculed for her choice to do so and made to feel like trash.

If she sets out her heart on studying more and acquiring a certain degree, her parents are shamed for allowing their daughter freedom. If she does not study more, she is shoved aside as another ordinary woman with nothing more to her than marital dreams. She is criticised for pursuing a career, and she is mocked for abandoning one over a modest home life. She does nothing but wastes her parents’ wealth.

Her communication skills are under scrutiny. If she speaks less, she certainly lacks self-confidence and worldly virtues. If she talks more, she probably left her manners at home. Her shyness is seen as a symbol of weakness, and her confidence is seen as arrogance. She is bashed for holding an opinion and scorned for being naïve.

In a society, where liberation means getting rid of religion, social norms are in direct contradiction to her beliefs. She, therefore, carries with her a list of do’s and don’ts that she must follow. And when she does that, she is responded with frowns and growls of those, who oppose the very idea of religion.

In such a situation, the Muslim woman questions, who should she look up to? Where are the examples? Who are her role models? How can she bring a balance to her life?

The role models for the Muslim women are the same as there are for the Muslim men – the companions of Rasulallah (sa).

There were female companions of the Prophet (sa), who had been chosen by Allah (swt). These women were brave and virtuous, active in their society and fulfilling their responsibilities at home. They were found in the battlefield taking care of the sick and the injured, and they were found at home nurturing their families. They preached alongside their male counterparts and helped in the propagation of Islam. They neither ridiculed each other for their choices nor allowed critics to rule their minds and control their lives. These were self-assured women, working only for the sake of Allah (swt) and for the sake of pleasing none but Him.  These honourable women were active in politics and well-versed in Islamic jurisprudence. They were seen in education, in business and trade, and in the comfort of their homes. They knew that being a woman does not restrict them from pursuing their dreams. And at the same time, they knew how to carry themselves in the crowd. They were gentle and kind, but never appeared as flirting.

They understood their responsibilities in the society and in their homes; therefore, they never took housework as a burden. We read that when Fatima bint Muhammad (ra), the beloved daughter of Rasulallah (sa), approached her father for a domestic help, her father taught her some words of remembrance instead.

These women lived a strenuous life in the absence of modern technology that we enjoy today; yet, they accomplished more than we can ever imagine. Not only were they conscious of their relationship with their Creator, but they connected their offspring to Allah (swt) as well. The mother of Anas bin Malik (ra) dedicated her son to the service of the Prophet (sa) and asked him to pray for her son’s increase in knowledge. Her supplication was answered by Allah (saw); thus, we see a number of sayings and traditions of the Prophet (sa) recorded by this young man.

To truly take these women as our role models, we will have to study their unique characteristics that made them live a content life, accomplish their goals and, most importantly, be pleasing to Allah (swt).

From here onwards, we will be beginning a series on the Seerah of the Sahabiyat – we will delve into their lives and challenges for learning how to improve our own lives, Insha’Allah.

A Heart-to-Heart with Shaykh Furqan Jabbar

11a furqan jabbar interviewShaykh Furqan Jabbar is studying for his Masters degree in Islamic Banking & Finance in Melbourne, and is working as a contributor to Mercy Mission Australia in the Guardians’ Quran project.

Question 1: What is your favourite book that you would like to recommend?

My favourite book is, of course, the Book of Allah (swt) – the Quran. How fortunate are those who have managed to memorize, understand, and implement it. After the Quran, I would recommend others to read The Fundamentals of Tawheed by Dr. Bilal Philips and He Came to Teach You Your Religion by Jamal Zarabozo. Both helped shape my understanding of religion. Regarding Dr. Bilal Philips’ book in particular, I found it easy to read and understand as a teenager. I also found The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad to be an interesting read. Although I do not endorse many of the authors’ opinions and beliefs, Muhammad Asad no doubt led an interesting life. Moazzam Begg’s Enemy Combatant was also a fascinating book which I had trouble putting down.

Although I do not like to admit it, I am also a science-fiction reader. Even though it is not a perfect book, my favourite thus far has been George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four due to its powerful ideas and lessons. I have read it twice, and would not mind reading it again. I also don’t mind reading somewhat ‘sillier’ books as long as they are well-written such as Frederic Brown’s Martians Go Home.

To read the rest of this interview and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

An Exclusive Interview with Brother Wael Ibrahim

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Hiba Magazine got in touch with Br Wael Ibrahim, Founder of Serving Islam Team HK and Connect Institute, and conducted the following brief interview:

Favorite book: “The Four Imams” (because it shows, how to respect differences in opinion)

Favorite family game: beach games.

Favorite screen time: “Nim”

Dream for the Ummah:

  • To focus on the most important issues and forget fighting over little matters.
  • To create a platform of education that would make our next generations intellectual enough to solve problems of the world.

Top 3 things every Muslim of today should do:

  • Focus on one’s own Iman and spiritual growth rather than others’.
  • Stop blaming each other.
  • Implement the teaching of the Quran and Sunnah and teach them.

Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali

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Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, also known in the West as Algazel, was born at Tus, Iran, in 1058 CE. He received his early education at Tus, and at the age of fourteen, he went to Gurgan, where he studied Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). After seven years, he moved to the city of Nishapur and became a student of the famous scholar, Abu Malik Al-Juwayni.

He soon acquired a high standard of scholarship in religion, philosophy and Fiqh. The vizier of the Seljuk Sultan, impressed by his scholarship, appointed him as a Professor at the Nizamiyah University of Baghdad, which was the most reputed institution of learning at that time.

After a few years, however, he gave up his academic pursuits and worldly interests to become a wandering ascetic.

After spending some time in Jerusalem, Makkah and Madinah, he came back to Tus and spent several years in seclusion. He finally ended his seclusion, opened a Sufi school and started teaching and lecturing. He remained in Tus until his death in December, 1111 CE.

Al-Ghazali was an influential Muslim theologian; in addition, he was a philosopher, a jurist and a Sufi mystic. He was a prolific writer, authoring more than seventy books. One of his major works, the multi-volume “Ihya ul-Uloom ud-Din” (“The Revival of Religious Sciences”), can be divided into four parts. It covers nearly all aspects of Islam, including Islamic jurisprudence, theology and Sufism.

Al-Ghazali authored two books on Islamic theology. He was very interested in logic and philosophy, and he studied intensively while he was teaching at Baghdad. He composed two books on philosophy as well.

Al-Ghazali’s work had a widespread influence on Western Medieval scholars, especially Thomas Aquinas. He received wide recognition in the religious institutions of the Ottoman Empire, southeast Asia and Africa.

Writer’s email: Aslamsyed1@yahoo.com

Fatimah bint Muhammad

cherry-blossom-pink-flowers-3Fatimah (ra) was the fifth child of Muhammad (sa) and Khadijah (ra). She was born at a time when her noble father had begun to spend long periods in the solitude of mountains around Makkah, meditating and reflecting on the great mysteries of creation.

This was the time, before the Bi‘thah, when her eldest sister Zaynab (ra) was married to her cousin, al-’As ibn ar-Rabi’ah. Then followed the marriage of her two other sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (ra), to the sons of Abu Lahab, a paternal uncle of the Prophet (sa). Both Abu Lahab and his wife Umm Jamil turned out to be flaming enemies of the Prophet from the very beginning of his public mission.

Little Fatimah (ra) thus saw her sisters leave home one after the other to live with their husbands. She was too young to understand the meaning of marriage and the reasons why her sisters had to leave home. She loved them dearly and was sad and lonely when they left. It is said that a certain silence and painful sadness came over her then.

Of course, even after the marriage of her sisters, she was not alone in the house of her parents. Barakah, the maid-servant of Aminah, the Prophet’s mother, who had been with the Prophet (sa) since his birth, Zayd ibn Harithah, and ‘Ali (ra), the young son of Abu Talib were all part of Muhammad’s household at this time. And of course there was her loving mother, the lady Khadijah (ra).

In her mother and in Barakah, Fatimah (ra) found a great deal of solace and comfort. In ‘Ali (ra), who was about four years older than her, she found a “brother” and a friend who somehow took the place of her own brother al-Qasim who had died in his infancy. Her other brother ‘Abdullah, known as the Good and the Pure, who was born after her, also died in his infancy. However, in none of the people in her father’s household did Fatimah (ra) find the carefree joy and happiness which she enjoyed with her sisters. She was an unusually sensitive child for her age.

When she was five, she heard that her father had become Rasul Allah, the Messenger of Allah. His first task was to convey the good news of Islam to his family and close relations. They were to worship God Almighty alone. Her mother, who was a tower of strength and support, explained to Fatimah (ra) what her father had to do. From this time on, she became more closely attached to him and felt a deep and abiding love for him. Often she would be at his side walking through the narrow streets and alleys of Makkah, visiting the Kabah or attending secret gatherings of the early Muslims who had accepted Islam and pledged allegiance to the Prophet (ra).

One day, when she was not yet ten, she accompanied her father to the Masjid al-Haram. He stood in the place known as Al-Hijr facing the Kabah and began to pray. Fatimah (ra) stood at his side. A group of Quraish, by no means well-disposed to the Prophet (sa), gathered about him. They included Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, the Prophet’s uncle. ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt, Umayyah ibn Khalaf and Shaybah and ‘Utbah, Sons of ar-Rabi’ah. Menacingly, the group went up to the Prophet (sa) and Abu Jahl, the ringleader asked:
“Which of you can bring the entrails of a slaughtered animal and throw it on Muhammad?”

‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt, one of the vilest of the lot, volunteered and hurried off. He returned with the obnoxious filth and threw it on the shoulders of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, while he was still prostrating. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, a companion of the Prophet (ra), was present but he was powerless to do or say anything.

Imagine the feelings of Fatimah (ra) as she saw her father being treated in this fashion. What could she, a girl not ten years old, do? She went up to her father and removed the offensive matter and then stood firmly and angrily before the group of Qurayish thugs and lashed out against them. Not a single word did they say to her.

The noble Prophet (sa) raised his head on completion of the prostration and went on to complete the Salat. He then said: “O Lord, may you punish the Quraysh!” and repeated this imprecation three times. Then he continued: “May You punish ‘Utbah, ‘Uqbah, Abu Jahl and Shaybah.” (These whom he named all perished many years later at the Battle of Badr.)

On another occasion, Fatimah (ra) was with the Prophet (sa) as he made Tawaf around the Ka’bah. A Quraish mob gathered around him. They seized him and tried to strangle him with his own clothes. Fatimah (ra) screamed and shouted for help. Abu Bakr (ra) rushed to the scene and managed to free the Prophet (sa). While he was doing so, he pleaded:
“Would you kill a man who says. ‘Mv Lord is Allah?”

Far from giving up, the mob turned on Abu Bakr (ra) and began beating him until blood flowed from his head and face.

Such scenes of vicious opposition and harassment against her father and the early Muslims were witnessed by the young Fatimah (ra). She did not meekly stand aside but joined in the struggle in defence of her father and his noble mission. She was still a young girl and instead of the cheerful romping, the gaiety and liveliness which children of her age are and should normally was accustomed to, Fatimah (ra) had to witness and participated in such ordeals.

Of course, she was not alone in this. The whole of the Prophet’s family suffered from the mindless violence of the disbelieving Quraish. Her sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (ra), also suffered. They were living at this time in the very nest of hatred and intrigue against the Prophet (sa). Their husbands were ‘Utbah and Utaybah, sons of Abu Lahab and Umm Jamil. Umm Jamil was known to be a hard and harsh woman who had a sharp and evil tongue. It was mainly because of her that Khadijah (ra) was not pleased with the marriages of her daughters to Umm Jamil’s sons in the first place. It must have been painful for Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (ra) to be living in the household of such inveterate enemies who not only joined but led the campaign against their father.

As a mark of disgrace to Muhammad (sa) and his family, ‘Utbah and ‘Utaybah were prevailed upon by their parents to divorce their wives. This was part of the process of ostracizing the Prophet (sa) totally. The Prophet (sa) in fact welcomed his daughters back to his home with joy, happiness and relief.

Fatimah (ra), no doubt, must have been happy to be with her sisters once again. They all wished that their eldest sister, Zaynab (ra), would also be divorced by her husband. In fact, the Quraish brought pressure on Abu-al ‘As to do so but he refused. When the Quraish leaders came up to him and promised him the richest and most beautiful woman as a wife should he divorce Zaynab (ra), he replied:
“I love my wife deeply and passionately and I have a great and high esteem for her father even though I have not entered the religion of Islam.”

Both Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (ra) were happy to be back with their loving parents and to be rid of the unbearable mental torture to which they had been subjected in the house of Umm Jamil. Shortly afterwards, Ruqayyah (ra) married again, to the young and shy ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan who was among the first to have accepted Islam. They both left for Abyssinia among the first Muhajirin who sought refuge in that land and stayed there for several years. Fatimah was not to see Ruqayyah again until after their mother had died.

The persecution of the Prophet (sa), his family and his followers continued and even became worse after the migration of the first Muslims to Abyssinia. In about the seventh year of his mission, the Prophet (sa) and his family were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in a rugged little valley enclosed by hills on all -sides and which could only be entered from Makkah by a narrow defile.

To this arid valley, Muhammad (sa) and the clans of Banu Hashim and al-Muttalib were forced to retire with limited supplies of food. Fatimah (ra) was one of the youngest members of the clans – just about twelve years old – and had to undergo months of hardship and suffering. The wailing of hungry children and women in the valley could be heard from Makkah. The Quraish allowed no food and contact with the Muslims whose hardship was only relieved somewhat during the season of pilgrimage.

The boycott lasted for three years. When it was lifted, the Prophet (sa) had to face even more trials and difficulties. Khadijah (ra), the faithful and loving, died shortly afterwards. With her death, the Prophet (sa) and his family lost one of the greatest sources of comfort and strength which had sustained them through the difficult period. The year in which the noble Khadijah (ra) and later Abu Talib died is known as the Year of Sadness. Fatimah (ra), now a young lady, was greatly distressed by her mother’s death. She wept bitterly and for some time was so grief-stricken that her health deteriorated. It was even feared she might die of grief.

Although her older sister, Umm Kulthum (ra), stayed in the same household, Fatimah (ra) realized that she now had a greater responsibility with the passing away of her mother. She felt that she had to give even greater support to her father. With loving tenderness, she devoted herself to looking after his needs. So concerned was she for his welfare that she came to be called “Umm Abi-ha” – the mother of her father”. She also provided him with solace and comfort during times of trial, difficulty and crisis.
Often the trials were too much for her. Once, about this time, an insolent mob heaped dust and earth upon his gracious head. As he entered his home, Fatimah wept profusely as she wiped the dust from her father’s head.

“Do not cry, my daughter,” he said, “for Allah shall protect your father.” The Prophet had a special love for Fatimah. He once said:

“Whoever pleased Fatimah has indeed pleased Allah and whoever has caused her to be angry has indeed angered Allah. Fatimah is a part of me. Whatever pleases her pleases me and whatever angers her angers me.”

He also said: “The best women in the entire world are four: the Virgin Mary, Asiya the wife of Pharoah, Khadijah Mother of the Believers, and Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad.” Fatimah thus acquired a place of love and esteem in the Prophet’s heart that was only occupied by his wife Khadijah.

Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, was given the title of “az-Zahra” which means “the Resplendent One”. That was because of her beaming face which seemed to radiate light. It is said that when she stood for Prayer, the Mihrab would reflect the light of her countenance. She was also called “al-Batul” because of her purity and asceticism. Instead of spending her time in the company of women, much of her time would be spent in Salat, in reading the Qur’an and in other acts of Ibadah.

Fatimah (ra) had a strong resemblance to her father, the Messenger of Allah. ‘A’ishah (ra), the wife of the Prophet, said of her:

“I have not seen any one of Allah’s creation resemble the Messenger of Allah more in speech, conversation and manner of sitting than Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her. When the Prophet saw her approaching, he would welcome her, stand up and kiss her, take her by the hand and sit her down in the place where he was sitting.” She would do the same when the Prophet came to her. She would stand up and welcome him with joy and kiss him.

Fatimah’s (ra) fine manners and gentle speech were part of her lovely and endearing personality. She was especially kind to poor and indigent folk and would often give all the food she had to those in need even if she herself remained hungry. She had neither craving for the ornaments of this world nor the luxury and comforts of life. She lived simply, although on occasion as we shall see circumstances seemed to be too much and too difficult for her.

She inherited from her father a persuasive eloquence that was rooted in wisdom. When she spoke, people would often be moved to tears. She had the ability and the sincerity to stir the emotions, move people to tears and fill their hearts with praise and gratitude to Allah for His grace and His inestimable bounties.

Fatimah (ra) migrated to Madinah a few weeks after the Prophet did. She went with Zayd ibn Harithah who was sent by the Prophet back to Makkah to bring the rest of his family. The party included Fatimah and Umm Kulthum, Sawda’, the Prophet’s wife, Zayd’s wife Barakah and her son Usamah. Traveling with the group also were ‘Abdullah the son of Abu Bakr who accompanied his mother and his sisters, ‘A’ishah and Asma’ (ra).

In Madinah, Fatimah (ra) lived with her father in the simple dwelling he had built adjoining the mosque. In the second year after the Hijrah, she received proposals of marriage through her father, two of which were turned down. Then Ali (ra), the son of Abu Talib, plucked up courage and went to the Prophet (sa) to ask for her hand in marriage. In the presence of the Prophet (sa), however, Ali (ra) became over-awed and tongue-tied. He stared at the ground and could not say anything. The Prophet (sa) then asked:
“Why have you come? Do you need something?” Ali (ra) still could not speak and then the Prophet (sa) suggested: “Perhaps you have come to propose marriage to Fatimah.” “Yes.” replied Ali (ra).

At this, according to one report, the Prophet (sa) said simply: “Marhaban wa ahlan — Welcome into the family,” and this was taken by ‘Ali (ra) and a group of Ansar who were waiting outside for him as indicating the Prophet’s (sa) approval. Another report indicated that the Prophet (sa) approved and went on to ask ‘Ali (ra) if he had anything to give as Mahr. ‘Ali replied that he didn’t. The Prophet (sa) reminded him that he had a shield which could be sold.

Ali sold the shield to ‘Uthman for four hundred dirhams and as he was hurrying back to the Prophet to hand over the sum as mahr, Uthman stopped him and said: “I am returning your shield to you as a present from me on your marriage to Fatimah.”

Fatimah and Ali (ra) were thus married most probably at the beginning of the second year after the Hijrah. She was about nineteen years old at the time and ‘Ali was about twenty one. The Prophet (sa) himself performed the marriage ceremony. At the Walima, the guests were served with dates, figs and Hais (a mixture of dates and butter fat). A leading member of the Ansar donated a ram and others made offerings of grain. All of Madinah rejoiced.

On her marriage, the Prophet (sa) is said to have presented Fatimah and ‘Ali (ra) with a wooden bed intertwined with palm leaves, a velvet coverlet, a leather cushion filled with the leaves of the Idhkhir plant, a sheepskin, a pot, a waterskin and a quern for grinding grain.

Fatimah (ra) left the home of her beloved father for the first time to begin life with her husband. The Prophet (sa) was clearly anxious on her account and sent Barakah with her should she be in need of any help. And no doubt Barakah was a source of comfort and solace to her. The Prophet (sa) prayed for them: “O Lord, bless them both, bless their house and bless their offspring.”

In Ali’s (ra) humble dwelling, there was only a sheepskin for a bed. In the morning after the wedding night, the Prophet (sa) went to Ali’s (ra) house and knocked on the door. Barakah came out and the Prophet (sa) said to her: “O Umm Ayman, call my brother for me.”

“Your brother? That’s the one who married your daughter?” asked Barakah somewhat incredulously as if to say: Why should the Prophet (sa) call Ali (ra) his “brother”?
(He referred to Ali (ra) as his brother because just as pairs of Muslims were joined in brotherhood after the Hijrah, so the Prophet (sa) and Ali (ra) were linked as “brothers”.)

The Prophet (sa) repeated what he had said in a louder voice. Ali (ra) came and the Prophet (sa) made a Dua, invoking the blessings of Allah on him. Then he asked for Fatimah (ra). She came almost cringing with a mixture of awe and shyness and the Prophet (ra) said to her: “I have married you to the dearest of my family to me.” In this way, he sought to reassure her. She was not starting life with a complete stranger but with one who had grown up in the same household, who was among the first to become a Muslim at a tender age, who was known for his courage, bravery and virtue, and whom the Prophet described as his “brother in this world and the hereafter”.

Fatimah’s life with Ali (ra) was as simple and frugal as it was in her father’s household. In fact, so far as material comforts were concerned, it was a life of hardship and deprivation. Throughout their life together, Ali (ra) remained poor because he did not set great store by material wealth. Fatimah was the only one of her sisters who was not married to a wealthy man.

In fact, it could be said that Fatimah’s life with Ali (ra) was even more rigorous than life in her father’s home. At least before marriage, there were always a number of ready helping hands in the Prophet’s (sa) household. But now she had to cope virtually on her own. To relieve their extreme poverty, ‘Ali (ra) worked as a drawer and carrier of water and she as a grinder of corn. One day she said to ‘Ali (ra): “I have ground until my hands are blistered.” “I have drawn water until I have pains in my chest,” said ‘Ali (ra) and went on to suggest to Fatimah (ra): “Allah has given your father some captives of war, so go and ask him to give you a servant.” Reluctantly, she went to the Prophet (sa) who said: “What has brought you here, my little daughter?” “I came to give you greetings of peace.” she said, for in awe of him she could not bring herself to ask what she had intended. “What did you do?” asked Ali (ra) when she returned alone. “I was ashamed to ask him,” she said.

So the two of them went together but the Prophet (sa) felt they were less in need than others. “I will not give to you,” he said, “and let the Ahl as-Suffah (poor Muslims who stayed in the mosque) be tormented with hunger. I have not enough for their keep…’’ Ali and Fatimah (ra) returned home feeling somewhat dejected but that night, after they had gone to bed, they heard the voice of the Prophet (sa) asking permission to enter. Welcoming him, they both rose to their feet, but he told them: “Stay where you are,” and sat down beside them. “Shall I not tell you of something better than that which you asked of me?” he asked and when they said yes he said: “Words which Jibrael taught me, that you should say “Subhan’Allah – Glory be to Allah” ten times after every Prayer, and ten times “Alhamdulillah- Praise be to Allah.” and ten times “Allahu Akbar – Allah is Great.” And that when you go to bed you should say them thirty-three times each.”

Ali (ra) used to say in later years: ‘I have never once failed to say them since the Messenger of Allah taught them to us.”

There are many reports of the hard and difficult times which Fatimah (ra) had to face. Often there was no food in her house. Once the Prophet (sa) was hungry, he went to one after another of his wives’ apartments but there was no food. He then went to Fatimah’s (ra) house and she had no food either. When he eventually got some food, he sent two loaves and a piece of meat to Fatimah (ra). At another time, he went to the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and from the food he was given, he saved some for her. Fatimah (ra) also knew that the Prophet (sa) was without food for long periods and she in turn would take food to him when she could. Once she took a piece of barley bread and he said to her:
“This is the first food your father has eaten for three days.”

Through these acts of kindness she showed how much she loved her father; and he loved her, really loved her in return.

Once he returned from a journey outside Madinah. He sent to the mosque first of all and prayed two Rakats as was his custom. Then, as he often did, he went to Fatimah’s (ra) house before going to his wives. Fatimah (ra) welcomed him and kissed his face, his mouth and his eyes and cried. “Why do you cry’?” the Prophet (sa) asked. “I see you, O Rasul Allah.” she said. “Your color is pale and sallow and your clothes have become worn and shabby.”

“O Fatimah,” the Prophet (sa) replied tenderly. “Don’t cry for Allah has sent your father with a mission which He would cause to affect every house on the face of the earth whether it be in towns, villages or tents (in the desert) bringing either glory or humiliation until this mission is fulfilled just as night (inevitably) comes.” With such comments Fatimah (ra) was often taken from the harsh realities of daily life to get a glimpse of the vast and far-reaching vistas opened up by the mission entrusted to her noble father.

Fatimah (ra) eventually returned to live in a house close to that of the Prophet (sa). The place was donated by an Ansari who knew that the Prophet (sa) would rejoice in having his daughter as his neighbour. Together they shared in the joys and the triumphs, the sorrows and the hardships of the crowded and momentous Madinah days and years.

In the middle of the second year after the Hijrah, her sister Ruqayyah (ra) fell ill with fever and measles. This was shortly before the great campaign of Badr. Uthman (ra), her husband, stayed by her bedside and missed the campaign. Ruqayyah (ra) died just before her father returned. On his return to Madinah, one of the first acts of the Prophet (sa) was to visit her grave.

Fatimah (ra) went with him. This was the first bereavement they had suffered within their closest family since the death of Khadijah (ra). Fatimah (ra) was greatly distressed by the loss of her sister. The tears poured from her eyes as she sat beside her father at the edge of the grave, and he comforted her and sought to dry her tears with the corner of his cloak.

The Prophet (sa) had previously spoken against lamentations for the dead, but this had led to a misunderstanding and when they returned from the cemetery the voice of ‘Umar (ra) was heard rose in anger against the women who were weeping for the martyrs of Badr and for Ruqayyah (ra).

“‘Umar, let them weep.” he said and then added: “What comes from the heart and from the eye, which is from Allah and His mercy, but what comes from the hand and from the tongue which is from Satan.” By the hand he meant the beating of breasts and the smiting of cheeks, and by the tongue he meant the loud clamour in which women often joined as a mark of public sympathy.

Uthman (ra) later married the other daughter of the Prophet (sa). Umm Kulthum (ra) and on this account came to be known as Dhu-n Nurayn – Possessor of the Two Lights.

The bereavement which the family suffered by the death of Ruqayyah (ra) was followed by happiness when, to the great joy of all the believers. Fatimah (ra) gave birth to a boy in Ramadan of the third year after the Hijrah. The Prophet (sa) spoke the words of the Adhan into the ear of the newborn babe and called him al—Hasan which means the Beautiful One.

One year later, she gave birth to another son who was called al-Husayn, which means “little Hasan” or the little beautiful one.

Fatimah (ra) would often bring her two sons to see their grandfather who was exceedingly fond of them. Later he would take them to the Mosque and they would climb unto his back when he prostrated. He did the same with his little granddaughter Uma’mah, the daughter of Zaynab (ra).

In the eighth year after the Hijrah, Fatimah (ra) gave birth to a third child, a girl whom she named after her eldest sister Zaynab (ra) who had died shortly before her birth. This Zaynab was to grow up and become famous as the “Heroine of Karbala”. Fatimah’s (ra) fourth child was born two years later. The child was also a girl and the Prophet (sa) chose for her the name Umm Kulthum after Fatimah’s (ra) sister who had died the year before after an illness.

It was only through Fatimah (ra) that the progeny of the Prophet (sa) was perpetuated. All the Prophet’s (sa) male children had died in their infancy and the two children of Zaynab (ra), named Ali and Umamah, died young. Ruqayyah’s (ra) child, ‘Abdullah, also died when he was not yet two years old. This is an added reason for the reverence which is accorded to Fatimah (ra).

Although Fatimah (ra) was so often busy with pregnancies and giving birth and rearing children, she took as much part as she could in the affairs of the growing Muslim community of Madinah. Before her marriage, she acted as a sort of hostess to the poor and destitute Ahl as Suffah. As soon as the Battle of Uhud was over, she went with other women to the battlefield and wept over the dead martyrs and took time to dress her father’s wounds. At the Battle of the Trench, she played a major supportive role together with other women in preparing food during the long and difficult siege. In the place of her camp there stands a mosque named Masjid Fatimah, one of seven mosques where the Muslims stood guard and performed their devotions.

Fatimah (ra) also accompanied the Prophet when he made Umrah in the sixth year after the Hijrah after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. In the following year, she and her sister Umm Kulthum (ra), were among the mighty throng of Muslims who took part with the Prophet (sa) in the liberation of Makkah. It is said that on this occasion, both Fatimah and Umm Kulthum visited the home and the grave of their mother Khadijah (ra) and recalled memories of their childhood and memories of Jihad, of long struggles in the early years of the Prophet’s (sa) mission.

In Ramadan of the tenth year just before he went on his Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (sa) confided to Fatimah (ra), as a secret not yet to be told to others;
“Jibrael recited the Qur’an to me and I to him once every year, but this year he has recited it with me twice. I cannot but think that my time has come.”

On his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (sa) did become seriously ill. His final days were spent in the apartment of his wife ‘A’ishah (ra). When Fatimah (ra) came to visit him, ‘A’ishah (ra) would leave father and daughter together.

One day he summoned Fatimah (ra). When she came, he kissed her and whispered some words in her ear. She wept – Then again he whispered in her ear and he smiled. ‘A’ishah (ra) saw and aked:
“You cry and you laugh at the same time, Fatimah? What did the Messenger of Allah say to you?” Fatimah replied: “He first told me, that he would meet his Lord after a short while and so I cried. Then he said to me: Don’t cry for you will be the first of my household to join me.’ So I laughed.” He also said to her then: “Aren’t you pleased that you are the First Lady (Sayyidatu-n Nisa’) of this Ummah?”

Not long afterwards the noble Prophet (sa) passed away. Fatimah (ra) was grief-stricken and she would often be seen weeping profusely. One of the companions noted that he did not see Fatimah (ra), may Allah be pleased with her, laugh after the death of her father.

One morning, early in the month of Ramadan, just less than five months after her noble father had passed away; Fatimah (ra) woke up looking unusually happy and full of mirth. In the afternoon of that day, it is said that she called Salma bint Umays who was looking after her. She asked for some water and had a bath. She then put on new clothes and perfumed herself. She then asked Salma to put her bed in the courtyard of the house. With her face looking to the heavens above, she asked for her husband Ali (ra).
He was taken aback when he saw her lying in the middle of the courtyard and asked her what was wrong. She smiled and said: “I have an appointment today with the Messenger of Allaah.”

Ali (ra) cried and she tried to console him. She told him to look after their sons al-Hasan and al-Husavn and advised that she should be buried without ceremony. She then turned and faced the Qiblah, closed her eyes, and slept. It was a sleep from which she did not awake.

She, Fatimah (ra) the Resplendent One, was just 29 years old.

Sanctity of Life

Sanctity of Life

I’ll be honest. As a woman, I sometimes worry that decisions about any aspect of my life may be made by others. The fact that these decisions may be taken, on my behalf, without my consent is frightening but that they may be taken without my knowledge is equally terrifying. I am certain that even women, who are confident in voicing their opinions and independent to take their own decisions, will be able to identify with this nagging fear of losing control! This is why it seems ironic that in most cases, women have made the choice to take another person’s life, without their knowledge or consent, only because it co-exists within their body.

Take a moment to consider, if your mother had decided not to have you, because she had a choice! What would you say to plead for your life? That’s right – you couldn’t possibly have said anything then. A slogan that caught my eye recently, expresses my sentiments in these words: “Ever notice that everyone, who supports abortion, has already been born?”

While it is certainly true that a woman’s body is greatly impacted by pregnancy, it is not true that abortion is simply a matter of her choosing to do something with her body. Science shows us that the unborn child is a genetically unique and separate person from his mother, even though dependent on the mother for survival. Abortion does not remove some part of the woman’s body; it destroys the body of another human being. Abortion is human intervention that does not allow a developing child to be born.

The question then arises, what do we want to choose? The simplest answer is, life or death, my child’s or mine. Pro-choice is the “cause” of women to take ownership of their bodies and “choose” to kill an unborn child. As Muslims, we see the threads of this argument unraveling upon itself. Women, men, children, are all Allah’s (swt) creation. He is the Owner of our body and our soul. It is He, who gives life, He who takes it away and He provides for us with all we need in this world.

There is no doubt that it is never easy for a woman to consider abortion, yet there are plenty of reasons for a woman to do so (be it poverty, family planning, population-control, single parent, rape or incest). Great efforts have been made to soften the blow of killing a human being: the term fetus has been redefined, the word choice has been substituted for abortion; however, it does not mask the truth that the pro-choice movement only offers a violent “solution” to the problem through abortion. They have no other choices available for the pregnant woman in need of help.

Jennie W. French, the founder of “National Women’s Coalition for Life” says: “The answer to a crisis pregnancy is to eliminate the crisis, not the child.” We need to reach out to every woman faced with the agony of abortion and say to her: “Your life and the life of your baby are both important, and we will not desert either one of you.” Take the first step: educate yourself and then others on the facts about abortion in Islam; volunteer in local pro-life groups; write to newspapers, radio and TV stations; support the cause through Zakat, Sadaqah and donations; and pray!

It is a daunting task but the most important thing that you can do is to become personally involved. Unless you do, nothing will change. In the end, our faith lies in the surety that Allah (swt) will not ask: “Did you succeed?” but “Did you try?”

“Sanctity of Life” is an organization dedicated to protecting the life of the unborn child. Though the injustice of abortion can be clearly established without depending on religious arguments, religious faith plays an important role in inspiring people to take an active part in confronting that injustice. Recognizing that abortion is wrong, a person’s faith compels them to do something to right that wrong. Our objective is to raise awareness about women’s reproductive health and abortion from moral, medical and religious perspectives. We arrange workshops and seminars for female population, lady health workers, nurses and female doctors. We invite you to join our efforts and play your part in saving a life. You can reach us at 0300-2343055/0345-2350029 and learn more about us at www.abortionbirthcontrol.com.

The Wonder Boys Who Became Great Men

July 11- wonder-boys

They were like a couple of scattered pearls during the life of the Prophet (sa), running to and fro like naughty children at any place and time. As their loving grandfather prostrated during earnest prayer, one of them would playfully climb up on his head. Like any innocent child, fond of sweet treats and naturally curious about environmental stimuli, one of them would pick up a date lying on the ground in Madinah and innocently put it into his mouth.

It was narrated that Aisha (rta) said: “The Prophet (sa) went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of black camel hair. Al-Hasan Ibn Ali (rta) came, and he enfolded him in the cloak; then, Al-Hussain (rta) came, and he enfolded him in it, then Fatimah (rta) came, and he enfolded her in it, then Ali (rta) came, and he enfolded him in it; then, he said: “Allah wishes only to remove Al-Rijs (evil deeds and sins) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet (sa)), and to purify you with a thorough purification.” (Al-Ahzab 33:33) (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Al-Hasan and Al-Hussain are the chiefs of the youth of Paradise, and Fatimah is the chief of their women.” (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn-Majah and Ahmad)

The Prophet’s (sa) grandsons, Hassan (rta) and Hussain (rta), grew up to be laudable leaders and heroes, who shunned worldly glory and honour. Despite their lineage, they didn’t feel “entitled” to occupying positions of authority and power over people. Their deaths as martyrs have raised their status and honourable mention even in this world. But we know that it is not just their blood connection that has earned them supreme success in the hereafter. As the Quran tells us, Prophet Nuh’s (as) pleas were of no avail for his son. He drowned because he didn’t submit to Allah’s (swt) commands.

Therefore, the question is: what did Hassan (rta) and Hussain (rta) do as youths that paved way for their lofty characters as adults?

  1. They were brought up on a solid foundation of Islamic morals.
  2. They had the correct Aqeedah in their hearts and witnessed it being confirmed by the actions of their parents and extended family.
  3. They were never denied the company and love of pious older people.
  4. Their chaste mother shunned the glitter and glamour of the life of this world.

Their mother will be the chief of the women of Paradise in the hereafter! Without a long string of intellectual achievements or accomplishments to her credit, she lived a life of hardship. She died very young, after living a life of forbearance in the face of abject poverty. Despite her short lifespan, she gave birth to and reared children, who not only carried forward her father’s mission, but also left notable marks in Islamic history.

Hassan (rta) and Hussain (rta) are role models for Muslim families today: reminders for new mothers that Tarbiyyah begins from conception and is pivotal in the early childhood years. For the youth, “Hussnayain” continue to belie the fact that “youth is wasted on the young”. Rather, when the foundation is strong, in very short lives, young people can achieve what the majority cannot accomplish in decades.

 

Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf (rta)

Vol 5 - Issue 2 Abdur Rahman bin AufAbdur-Rahman Ibn Awf (rta) was among those ten fortunate Companions of the Prophet (sa), who were given the good news of being accepted in Paradise after their death. He was known for his truthfulness, sincerity and good knowledge of religious matters. Abdur-Rahman (rta) embraced Islam at the age of thirty, after being invited to do so by Abu Bakr (rta). Before becoming Muslim, his name was Abd Amr, and it was the Prophet (sa) himself who changed his name to Abdur-Rahman (rta).

Abdur-Rahman (rta) had the wonderful opportunity of migrating twice in the cause of Islam – to Abyssinia and to Madinah. When Abdur-Rahman (rta) arrived in Madinah, he had no money and no property. To make his adjustment in Madinah easier, the Prophet (sa) asked one of the richest men of Madinah, Sad Ibn Rabee Ansari (rta) to help Abdur-Rahman (rta). Sad Ibn Rabee Ansari (rta) was ready to give to Abdur-Rahman (rta) one of his two wives and one of his two big orchards; however, Abdur-Rahman’s (rta) self-respect did not allow him to accept this generous offer. He thanked Sad Ibn Rabee Ansari for his kindness, prayed to Allah (swt) to increase Sad’s wealth and simply asked him to show the way to the market, where he would earn his own living. He did not wish to be a burden on anyone – he knew that Allah (swt) would provide for him.

Ever since Abdur-Rahman (rta) began his own business in the market of Madinah, Allah (swt) blessed him with bounty beyond his most daring expectations. Whatever he touched seemed to bring him instant success.

Soon, Abdur-Rahman (rta) extended his activities also to agriculture. Once, the Prophet’s wife Aisha (rta) heard an unusual vibrating sound traveling through the city. Upon learning that the cause of this vibration was Abdur-Rahman’s (rta) seven hundred camels loaded with grains, Aisha (rta) recalled the Prophet (sa) saying that Abdur-Rahman (rta) would enter Paradise ‘leaping and jumping’ – with much ease. When somebody conveyed these words to Abdur-Rahman (rta), he overflowed with joy and dedicated his camels, his goods and his wealth to the welfare of the Muslim Ummah! Just like Allah (swt) gave to Abdur-Rahman (rta) out of His bounty, he also spent abundantly in charity for the sake of Allah (swt). Yet, despite all the prosperity and wealth that Abdur-Rahman (rta) gained, his heart was not at ease. He often used to weep out of fear that he would be deprived of blessings in the Hereafter because of the bounties Allah (swt) bestowed on him in this world.

Business and agriculture kept Abdur-Rahman (rta) busy; yet, he eagerly participated in the great battles for the cause of Allah (swt). After taking part in the battle of Badr, Abdur-Rahman (rta) went on in a mission sent to Doamatul Jandal area to conquer the tribe of Banu Kalb. Abdur-Rahman (rta) was appointed to lead the Muslim army. The Prophet (sa) himself placed on his head the turban of the general and gave him the flag of the Mujahideen. He ordered Abdur-Rahman (rta) to invite the tribe to follow the teachings of Islam. Only if they would refuse to do so, the Muslim army was to attack and fight them. The Prophet (sa) also strictly forbade harming women, children and the elderly of the tribe.

After arriving to Domatul Jandal, Abdur-Rahman (rta) spent three days explaining to the people of Banu Kalb the teachings of Islam. The chief of the tribe was very much impressed by the message of Allah (swt) and decided to enter the fold of Islam. Upon seeing the conversion of their leader, most of the tribes-people also became Muslims. Those, who did not want to accept Islam, could continue to live peacefully on condition that they would pay Jazyah tax to the Islamic government. Thus, Islam spread in this area in a peaceful manner. The chief of the tribe even gave his daughter to Abdur-Rahman (rta) in marriage.

Abdur-Rahman (rta) not only participated in the battles for the glory of Islam, but also generously supported the Mujahideen. Once, he gave to Mujahideen five hundred horses trained for military combat. On another occasion, his gift was fifteen hundred pure-bred Arab steeds. Just before his death, Abdur-Rahman (rta) bequeathed in his will four hundred Dinars to each survivor of the battle of Badr.

Abdur-Rahman (rta) also supported the Mujahideen for the battle of Tabook. The Muslim army was so poorly equipped for this battle that it became known as the penniless army. This time, Abdur-Rahman’s (rta) help consisted of bags full of silver – the most generous contribution made for this war. When the army set out for Tabook, Abdur-Rahman (rta) also himself was among the Mujahideen. Once, the Prophet (sa) was not present at the beginning of the prayer, so Abdur-Rahman (rta) began leading the prayer. When the Prophet (sa) arrived in the middle of the prayer, he joined the rows and prayed behind Abdur-Rahman (rta). What an honor it was for Abdur-Rahman (rta) to have the Prophet (sa) pray behind him!

When Caliph Umar Farooq (rta) was stabbed while leading the prayer, it was Abdur-Rahman (rta) who finished leading that prayer. Before his death, Caliph Umar (rta) selected a board of six honourable men, who were to continue running the affairs of the Muslim state and to select the next Caliph. Abdur-Rahman (rta) had the honour to be among these six noble Companions. When discussions arose about nominating the next Caliph, Abdur-Rahman (rta) suggested that the board of six should be narrowed down to three members to make the selection easier. Further in the selection process, Abdur-Rahman (rta) withdrew his name from the list of candidates and voted in favor of Uthman Ibn Affan (rta), who then became the next Caliph. He was the first one to swear his loyalty to the new Caliph.

Many people used to pray to Allah (swt) for Abdur-Rahman (rta). The Prophet (sa) himself prayed for the prosperity of Abdur-Rahman (rta) and gave him the wonderful news of being accepted in Paradise. The Prophet’s (sa) wife Aisha (rta) often used to ask Allah (swt) to give him to drink from the sweet waters of the stream of Salsabil in Paradise. He also received supplications from the other wives of the Prophet (sa), as he was the one who used to provide for their needs during Hajj.

Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf (rta) passed away during the caliphate of Uthman Ibn Affan. He was buried in Jannatul-Baqahi.

Adapted from “Commanders of the Muslim Army (Among the Companions of the Prophet (sa)” by Mahmood Ahmad Ghandafar.

Zaynab Bint Jahash (rta)

Ummul-MumineenName: Zaynab Bint Jahash

Kunniyat: Ummul-Hakam

Father: Jahash Bin Raab

Mother: Umayma Bint Abdul-Muttalib

Clan: Banu Hashim

Family: Asad Bin Khuzaymah

Tribe: Quraish

Birth: 590 CE

Death: 20 AH – 643 CE

If any woman has had to face controversy, scandal, slander and all manners of finger pointing, it is Zaynab Bint Jahash (rta). And if any woman has emerged from it all not only unscathed but with flying colours, it is Zaynab Bint Jahash (rta). And if any woman was chosen by Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa) to be an agent of change in eradicating deep rooted customs of Jahiliyah and launching an Islamic social fabric, it is Zaynab Bint Jahash (rta).

Zaynab Bint Jahash (rta) was the Prophet’s (sa) first cousin, her mother Umayma being the daughter of Abdul-Muttalib. She came from one of the noblest families of the Quraish, and everyone expected her eventually to marry a man with the same high social status. However, the Prophet (sa) himself arranged her marriage to Zaid Bin Harith (rta), whose background was very different from Zaynab (rta).

Zaid (rta) was taken prisoner as a child during an inter-tribal war before Islam. He was sold as a slave to a nephew of Khadijah (rta), who gave Zaid (rta) to her as a gift. In turn, Khadijah (rta) gave him to the Prophet (sa), who later granted Zaid (rta) his freedom and adopted him as his own son.

When the Prophet (sa) asked for her hand on behalf of Zaid (rta), Zaynab (rta) and her family were shocked at the idea of her marrying a man, who for them was only a freed slave. The Prophet (sa) thought they would make a good couple, and that their marriage would demonstrate that it was not their ancestors but their standing in the sight of Allah (swt) that mattered.

A lesson we seem to have forgotten. Today, we are as socially stratified as the Arabs were in the days of Jahiliyah. Cross-social and cross-cultural marriages are frowned upon and just not acceptable. How often do we hear of a Sindhi marrying a Pathan?

Zaynab (rta) and Zaid (rta) got married when this Ayah was revealed in the Quran: “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any opinion in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error.” (Al-Ahzab 33:36)

The marriage, however, was not a success. Although both Zaynab (rta) and Zaid (rta) were the best of people, who loved Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa), they were very different and could not overcome their incompatibility.

Then Allah (swt) ordained His Messenger (sa) the task of eradicating a deep rooted social tradition – the adoption of children. An adopted child was considered exactly like a real son or daughter in rights and sanctities. This tradition affronts the basic principles of Islam; especially those concerning marriage, divorce and inheritance and some other cases.

“Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers: that is more just with Allah.” (Al-Ahzab 33:5)

“Muhammad (sa) is not the father of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the Prophets.” (Al-Ahzab 33:40)

Allah (swt) bid the Prophet (sa) to marry his cousin Zaynab Bint Jahash (rta), who was an ex-wife to Zaid (rta) – his adopted son.

“So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them).” (Al-Ahzab 33:37)

So he married the divorcee of his ‘adopted’ son to show that adoption does not really make the adopted child a real son and also to show that divorcees have a right to remarry. Tongues of the Kuffar to this day are dipped in venom, when they slander the Prophet (sa) regarding his marriage to Zaynab (rta). They stoop to the basest level of accusations. So we can well imagine how the hypocrites must have spread false propaganda at that time.

The marriage of Zaynab (rta) and the Prophet (sa) not only withstood all the hoopla but flourished in spite of it. Zaynab (rta) was fond of pointing out that her marriage had been arranged by Allah (swt) Himself!

But that did not mean she thought she was a ‘chosen one’ and became complacent about Allah (swt) or her actions. She was constantly immersed in worship.

It is related by Anas Ibn Malik (rta) that once the Prophet (sa) entered the mosque and found a rope hanging between two pillars, and so he said: “What is this?” He was told: “It is for Zaynab (rta). She prays, and when she loses concentration or feels tired, she holds onto it.” At this time, the Prophet said: “Untie it. Pray as long as you feel fresh, but when you lose concentration or become tired, you should stop.”

She was a giving woman. The Prophet (sa) said of her to his other wives: “She is the most generous among you.” It has been related by Aisha (rta) that the Prophet (sa) once said to his wives: “The one who has the longest hands among you will meet me again the soonest.” Aisha (rta) added: “They used to measure each other’s hands to see whose was longest, and it was the hand of Zaynab (rta) that was the longest, because she used to work by hand (tanning leather) and give away (what she earned) in charity.”

Zaynab (rta) was with the Prophet (sa) for six years, and lived for another nine years after his death, thus fulfilling the Prophet’s (sa) indication that she would be the first of his wives to die after him.

If ever a woman gave Ayesha (rta) cause for insecurity, it was Zaynab Bint Jahash (rta). There was a healthy rivalry between Zaynab (rta) and Ayesha (rta). However, Ayesha (rta) said of Zaynab (rta): “I have never seen a woman so pure as Zaynab, so God-fearing, so truthful, so attentive to family ties, so generous, so self-sacrificing in everyday life, so charitable and thus so close to Allah, the Exalted.”

The lessons we learn from this remarkable woman and her life are particularly relevant in today’s soap opera culture and hunger for scandals. How can we deal with personal trials with poise? Look at Zaynab (rta). No need to get hysterical at every finger raised in your direction. How do we manage a divorce with dignity? Look at Zaynab (rta). We don’t have to accuse either party of some major fault and get in a mud slinging match. How do we adjust to a major lifestyle change? Look at Zaynab (rta). Know your direction and stay true to your faith. How do we not get on cloud nine when Allah the Supreme honours us with His Glorious Limelight? Look at Zaynab (rta). Stay humble before Allah (swt) and steadfast in your devotion to Him.

Usamah Bin Zaid (rta)

Vol 4 - Issue 4 Usamah Bin ZaidThe birth of Usamah Bin Zaid (rta) was a great joy for the Prophet (sa), who had a very close connection with the child’s parents. Usamah’s mother Umm Aiman (rta) used to serve the Prophet’s (sa) mother. Usamah’s father Zaid Bin Harith (rta) had a very special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart – he had declared Zaid Bin Harithah (rta) to be his adopted son.

Dark skinned and with typical African features, Usamah Bin Zaid (rta) was known for his virtuousness, intelligence, humility, fear of Allah (swt) and passion for Jihad. He loved the Prophet (sa) very dearly and was ready to sacrifice his life for the cause of Islam. It is due to these noble qualities that the Prophet (sa) proclaimed Usamah (rta) to be dearer to him than all other Companions.

When the call for the battle of Uhud was announced, Usamah (rta) set out to join the Muslim army. Unfortunately, he was not accepted into the rows of Mujahideen due to his very young age.

For the battle of Ahzab, Usamah (rta) once again set out for joining the Mujahideen. Remembering his bad luck at the time of the battle of Uhud, Usamah (rta) began walking on his toes in order to appear taller and older. The Prophet (sa) noticed this trick and, with a smile on his face, accepted Usamah (rta). Thus, the battle of Ahzab became the first Jihad for Usamah (rta), who was only fifteen years old at the time.

Usamah (rta) was not yet twenty years old, when the Prophet (sa) appointed him to be the commander of the Muslim army setting out for Syria to fight the Roman army. Many questioned this choice of the Prophet (sa) – the young and inexperienced Usamah (rta) was to lead such distinguished Companions as Abu Bakr (rta) and Umar Farooq (rta). It so happened that just before the army set out, the Prophet (sa) passed away. Although it was suggested to delay the army and even to change the commander, Abu Bakr (rta), the first Caliph, firmly insisted that the army would set out for Syria, as he did not want to go against the dying wish of the Prophet (sa).

Harqal, the emperor of Rome, was surprised to hear that even after the death of their Prophet (sa), the Muslims had not delayed the war. This determination and confidence scared Harqal’s soldiers. The Romans suffered great losses, while the Muslim army under Usamah’s (rta) leadership, returned home safe and sound.

Two years before the death of the Prophet (sa), Usamah (rta) was appointed the commander of a regiment for an expedition. After returning to Madinah with bright colours of victory, the Prophet (sa) asked Usamah (rta) to tell him about the battle. Usamah (rta) said that when the enemy began to flee, he followed one of them. As soon as Usamah (rta) had lifted his spear over the enemy, the soldier recited the Kalimah, declaring his faith in Allah (swt). Disregarding this, Usamah (rta) still killed the soldier. The Prophet (sa) was very grieved to hear this, as Usamah (rta) had no right to kill a man, who had professed faith in Allah (swt). After seeing the anger of the Prophet (sa), Usamah (rta) felt as if all the good deeds he had ever done in his life were wasted – he learned a lesson that he remembered for the rest of his life.

When disagreements arose among Muslims, and Ali (rta) opposed Amir Muawiya (rta), Usamah (rta) categorically refused to take part in fighting. He went into seclusion, saying that no Muslim would be the target of his sword. He remembered the lesson the Prophet (sa) had taught him – not to fight against anyone, who testified that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah (swt).

Caliph Umar (rta) used to distribute stipends from the treasury, considering the services and sacrifices each person had made for the cause of Islam. Once, the Caliph’s son Abdullah (rta) approached him to inquire, why Usamah (rta) was receiving five thousand Dinars, while he was getting only two thousand. Abdullah (rta) said that Usamah’s father (rta) was in a lower position than his, and also Usamah (rta) himself had taken part in fewer battles than Abdullah (rta). Hearing these words, Caliph Umar (rta) replied that Usamah’s father (rta) was dearer to the Prophet (sa) than his, and that Usamah (rta) himself was dearer to the Prophet (sa) than Abdullah. The Caliph (rta) said that it was his duty to keep in mind the preferences of the Prophet (sa).

Caliph Umar (rta) told Abdullah (rta) the story of Usamah’s father Zaid Bin Harithah (rta), who used to be a very special servant of the Prophet (sa). When after a long search Zaid’s father Harithah finally found his kidnapped and sold in slavery son with the Prophet (sa), he asked Zaid (rta) to return home. Even though the Prophet (sa) gave Zaid (rta) the freedom to decide what he wanted to do, Zaid (rta) refused to leave the Prophet (sa). Zaid (rta) said that he would rather be with the Prophet (sa) than to have a thousand freedoms. Deeply moved to hear these words, the Prophet (sa) took Zaid (rta) to the Kabah and, in front of the Quraish chiefs, declared Zaid (rta) to be his son. From that time on, Muslims began calling him Zaid Bin Muhammad. This tradition was stopped by a revelation from Allah (swt), according to which an adopted son should be called by the name of his real father.

In addition, Usamah’s mother Umm Aiman (rta) had a special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart. She used to attend to the Prophet’s (sa) mother. As the Prophet (sa) was very young at the time when his mother passed away, Umm Aiman (rta) took up the responsibility of raising him. The Prophet (sa) used to say that Umm Aiman (rta) was like a mother to him. He considered her a member of his own family.

Usamah (rta) himself enjoyed a very exceptional love of the Prophet (sa). Often, the Prophet (sa) used to pass on to Usamah (rta) the gifts given to him. Once, the Chief of the Quraish gave to the Prophet (sa) a very expensive dress, which he had brought from Yemen – a royal robe specially made for the King of Yemen. The Prophet (sa) wore the robe only once and then passed it on to Usamah (rta).

Although the time he spent with the Prophet (sa) was not long, people still used to ask him about the Prophet’s (sa) opinions on certain matters. Due to Usamah’s (rta) special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart and his own exceptional personal characteristics, he was very much respected within the Muslim Ummah.

Source: “Commanders of the Muslim Army (Among the Companions of the Prophet (sa)” by Mahmood Ahmad Ghandafar.

Ummul-Mumineen – Aisha (rta)

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Name: Aisha Bint Abi Bakr

Kunniyat: Umm Abdullah

Title: Siddiqa and Humaira

Father: Abdullah – Abi Bakr Ibn Abi Qahafa

Mother: Zainab – Umme Ruman Bint Aamer

Clan: Banu Tumaim

Tribe: Quraysh

Birth: 5th Shawwal AH – 615 CE

Death: 17th Ramadan, 58 AH – 681 CE

How does one begin to define the life and times of a daughter of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (rta) – the most eminent of Companions – and the wife of the most remarkable man of all times – the Messenger of Allah (sa)? Even among these stellar associations, she shines as an individual to reckon, which says volumes about her character and personality.

Even as a child, Aisha (rta) showed exceptional intelligence. She was about six years of age, when the Prophet (sa) saw her in her father’s house playing with some toys, including a toy-horse with wings. The Prophet (sa) asked her: “Aisha, do horses ever have wings?” Instead of feeling shy in the presence of this great man, Aisha (rta) confidently replied: “Yes, King’s Solomon’s horse did.”

Aisha (rta) was at various times a judge, a political activist and, after the death of her husband, an indispensable source of knowledge about the life and teachings of the Prophet (sa). Even such senior Companions as Umar (rta) frequently consulted her about matters, in which they were doubtful. Even Tabi’in, the great scholars of Ahadeeth and Fiqh, learned from her. A part of what they learnt has come down to us in the form of numerous traditions that are narrated on her authority.

She was strong-willed and fiercely feminist – but not a rebel without a cause. Hence, we see her defending women’s rights – even negating opinions of other Companions. On hearing some Companions narrate that if a woman, dog or donkey crosses in front of a person praying, the prayer gets disrupted, she got angry and said: “You did gross injustice in putting us together with dogs and donkeys. The Prophet (sa) would pray and I would lie in front of him; when he wanted to prostrate, I would gather my legs.”

When she felt some women deviating from the Islamic code of conduct, she said in no uncertain terms: “Had Allah’s Prophet (sa) known what the women were doing, he would have forbidden them from attending the Mosque.” (Bukhari) Her brand of feminism was firmly entrenched in Islamic teachings. She had no ego issues about standing behind a man in congregation or a chip on the shoulder about remaining in Purdah.

Syed Sulaiman Nadwee says: “ The greatest favour that Aisha (rta) has done to women is to demonstrate that a Muslim woman, living in Purdah, can actively participate in literary, religious, social and political activities and can work for the betterment of the community.”

Aisha (rta) did not simply teach and preach Islam – she lived it. She led a truly Muslim life of prayer, charity and struggle for truth and justice. The Prophet (sa) once gave her this advice: “Aisha, if you want to meet me (again in the life to come), then treat this world like a traveler’s meal and do not attend the gatherings of the rich and the powerful, and do not consider clothes old as long as they can be mended.” (Ibn Sa’ad)

During the Caliphate of Umar (rta) and afterwards, wealth began to pour into the hands of Muslims. A due share of it came to Aisha (rta), but she gave away almost all she received. Once Abd Allah Bin Zubayr sent her 100,000 dirhams, but by the end of the same day, she had given it all away. Ibn Sa’ad reports Urwa as saying that on one occasion he saw her distribute 70,000 dirhams and then get up shaking the front of her dress, as if she were clearing it of dust. Aisha (rta) also often kept Nafl (supererogatory) fast and rarely missed Hajj.

This is but a glimpse of an inspiring life!

Some people like to focus only on: “How old was she, when she got married?” or “What about the Battle of the Camel (Jamal)?”

The Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) marriage to Aisha (rta) was an exceptional one. Waheeda Carvello observes: “Here we have a man nearing the end of his life and a woman still near the beginning of hers. Aisha (rta) had a lively temperament and was quick to learn. She had a clear heart and an accurate memory.”

It is important, however, to dig deeper and to bring out the real significance of this union. The emphasis here is on education and the cultivation of the intellect, which every human is blessed with. We must remind ourselves that if knowledge is not related to and acquired through action, it cannot be used for reconstruction of society.

What we lack today is the application of knowledge. Most of us are educated – in some instances, very highly educated – but how well do we understand what we have learnt? And how many of us have the commitment and the strength to apply it? Let alone implement it? This is what made the marriage of Aisha (rta) to the Prophet (sa) so exceptional.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) encouraged intellectual growth and debate. Although Aisha (rta) was intelligent, she had a great deal to learn. The Prophet (sa) tutored her with love and understanding and enhanced her potential. Through this interaction with the Prophet (sa) and the other wives, she became very knowledgeable. Like any student, she would sometimes feel insecure regarding her progress, and the Prophet (sa) would always help her and assist her in improving herself. She was never short of words and was not afraid to question or debate in order to find out the truth. When she got older, she passed on the knowledge she had received from the Prophet (sa), and long after his death, she was a source of knowledge and wisdom for both women and men.

Aisha (rta) accompanied the Prophet (sa) on many expeditions. She participated with total courage and commitment in the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq and learned through these experiences. Through this kind of training, and as an active participant, she developed into a mature eloquent woman, who could fully participate in the affairs of the first Islamic state and be a beacon for all times to come.

The Battle of the Camel was an incident that caused Aisha (rta) tremendous grief. On remembering it, she would say: “I wish I was a stone, I wish I was a tree.”

The focal point of Aisha’s (rta) remarkable life is her commitment to the cause of Islam under all circumstances, her unfaltering devotion and love for her husband and her submission of her will and intellect to the will of Allah (swt).

Ubayy Ibn Kab (rta)

Vol 4-Issue 3 Ubayy ibn Kab ra“O Abu Mundhir! Which verse of the Book of Allah is the greatest?” asked the Messenger of Allah (sa). “Allah and His Messenger know best,” came the reply. The Prophet (sa) repeated the question and Abu Mundhir in response recited Ayat Al-Kursi or the Verse of the Throne:

“Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), Al-Hayyul-Qayyuum (the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists). Neither slumber no sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. (…)” (Al-Baqarah 2:255)

The Prophet (sa) beamed and smote his chest with his right hand in approval, and said to Abu Mundhir: “May knowledge delight and benefit you, Abu Mundhir.”

This Abu Mundhir, whom the Prophet (sa) congratulated on the knowledge and understanding which Allah had bestowed on him, was Ubayy Ibn Kab (rta) – one of his distinguished companions and a person of high esteem in the early Muslim community.

Ubayy (rta) was one of the Ansar and belonged to the Khazraj tribe. He was one of the first persons of Yathrib to accept Islam. He pledged allegiance to the Prophet (sa) at Al-Aqabah before the Hijrah. He participated in the Battle of Badr and other engagements thereafter.

Ubayy (rta) was one of the select few, who committed the Quranic revelations to writing and had a Mus-haf (transcript) of his own. He was the Prophet’s (sa) scribe. At the Prophet’s (sa) demise, he was one of the twenty five or so, who knew the Quran by heart. His recitation was so beautiful and his understanding so profound that the Prophet (sa) encouraged his companions to learn the Quran from him. Later, when Umar (rta) was busy with financial matter of the state, he told Muslims: “O, people! Whoever wants to ask about the Quran, let him go to Ubayy Ibn Kab.”

Ubayy (rta) enjoyed a special honour with regard to the Quran. One day, the Prophet (sa) said: “O, Ubayy Ibn Kab! I have been commanded to show the Quran to you.”

Ubayy (rta) was elated. He knew, of course, that the Prophet (sa) received commands only from Allah (swt). Unable to control his excitement, he asked: “O Messenger of Allah (sa) (…) Have I been mentioned to you by name?” “Yes,” replied the Prophet (sa), “by your own name and by your genealogy (Nasab) in the highest heavens.”

Any Muslim, whose name had been conveyed to the heart of the Prophet (sa) in this manner, must certainly have been of great ability and tremendously high stature.

Throughout the years of his association with the Prophet (sa), Ubayy (rta) derived the maximum benefit from his sweet and noble personality and teachings. Ubayy (rta) related that the Prophet (sa) once asked him: “Shall I not teach you a Surah the like of which has not been revealed in the Tawrah, nor in the Injil, nor in the Zabur, nor in the Quran?” ”Certainly,” replied Ubayy (rta). “I hope you would not leave through that door, until you know what it is,” said the Prophet (sa), obviously prolonging the suspense for Ubayy (rta). Ubayy (rta) continues: “He stood up and I stood up with him. With my hand in his, he started to speak. I tried to delay him, fearing that he would leave before letting me know what the Surah was. When he reached the door, I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! The Surah which you promised to tell me…” He replied: “What do you recite when you stand for Salat?” So, I recited for him Fatihatu-l-Kitab (the Opening Chapter of the Quran) and he said: “(That’s) it! (That’s) it! They are the seven oft-repeated verses, of which Allah Almighty has said: ‘We have given you the seven oft-repeated verses and the Mighty Quran.’”

Ubayy’s (rta) devotion to the Quran was uncompromising. Once, he recited part of a verse which the Khalifah Umar (rta) apparently could not remember, and he said to Ubayy (rta): “You have lied.” To this Ubayy (rta) retorted: “Rather, you have lied.”

A person, who heard the exchange, was astounded and said to Ubayy (rta): “Do you call the Amir Al-Muminin a liar?” “I have greater honour and respect for the Amir Al-Muminin than you,” responded Ubayy (rta), “but he has erred in verifying the Book of Allah, and I shall not say that the Amir Al-Muminin is correct, when he has made an error concerning the Book of Allah.” “Ubayy is right,” concluded Umar (rta).

Ubayy (rta) gave an example regarding the importance of the Quran, when a man came to him and said: “Advise me.” He replied: “Take the Book of Allah as (your) leader (Imam). Be satisfied with it as (your) judge and ruler. It is what the Prophet (sa) has bequeathed to you. (It is your) intercessor with Allah (swt) and should be obeyed.”

After the demise of the Prophet (sa), Ubayy (rta) remained strong in his attachment to Islam and his commitment to the Quran and the Sunnah. He was constant in his Ibaddah and would often be found in the mosque at night after the Isha engaged in worship or in teaching. Once he was sitting in the mosque after Salah with a group of Muslims making supplication. Umar (rta) came in, sat with them and asked each to recite a Dua. They all did, until finally Ubayy’s (rta) turn came. He was sitting next to Umar (rta). He felt somewhat over-awed and became flustered. Umar (rta) prompted him and suggested that he say: “Allahumma ighfir lana. Allahumma irhamna. (O Lord, forgive us. O Lord, have mercy on us).”

Taqwah remained the guiding force in Ubayy’s (rta) life. He lived simply and did not allow the world to corrupt or deceive him. He had a good grasp of reality and knew that however a person lived and whatever comforts and luxuries he enjoyed, these would all fade away and his good deeds would be his only credit. He was always a sort of warner to Muslims, reminding them of the times of the Prophet (sa), of Muslims’ devotion to Islam, of their simplicity and spirit of sacrifice. Many people came to him seeking knowledge and advice. To one such person he said: “The believer has four characteristics. If he is afflicted by any misfortune, he remains patient and steadfast. If he is given anything, he is grateful. If he speaks, he speaks the truth. If he passes a judgment on any issue, he is just.”

Umar (rta) gave him the title of ‘Sayyid of the Muslims’. He was part of the consultative group (Mushawarah) to which Caliph Abu Bakr (rta) referred many problems. This group was composed of men of good sense and judgment (Ahl Ar-Rav) and men who knew the law (Ahl Al-Fiqh) from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. It included Umar (rta), Uthman (rta), Ali (rta), Abdur Rahman Ibn Awf (rta), MuAdh Ibn Jabal (rta), Ubayy Ibn Kab (rta) and Zayd Ibn Harithah (rta). Later, when Umar (rta) became Caliph, he consulted the same group. Specifically for Fatwahs (legal judgments) he would refer to Uthman (rta), Ubayy (rta) and Zayd Ibn Thabit (rta).

Umm Salamah (rta)

By Uzma Jawed

An exemplary and prominent figure, who has been conspicuous in our rich Islamic history, is one of the Ummahat Al-Mumineen, the ‘Mothers of the Faithful.’ Her name was Umm Salamah (rta). A detailed biographical sketch by Dr. Qadri mentioned that her real name was Hind. She was first married to her cousin Abdullah Bin Abdul Asad Makhzumi, who was better known as Abu Salamah (rta). They were among the first ones to embrace Islam.

They were also among those, who migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), where they had their first son Salamah (rta). After returning to Makkah, they migrated to Madinah. She was the first Muslim woman to do so. After reaching Madinah, Umm Salamah (rta) had another son and two daughters. In 4 A.H., Abu Salamah (rta) was seriously wounded in the battle of Uhud, and she became a widow while pregnant with her second daughter.

After the Iddat, Abu Bakr (rta) proposed to her, but she declined. After that, the Prophet (sa), who was well aware of Umm Salamah’s (rta) sense of honour and self-respect, proposed to her. According to “Great Women in Islam” by Mahmood Ghadanfar, Umm Salamah (rta) did not decline the offer but replied with reservations. She told him that she was very sensitive, of old age and had several children. The Prophet (sa) answered that they would pray to Allah (swt) to relieve her from this extreme sensitivity. As far as age was concerned, he told her that he was an elderly man himself. Moreover, regarding the children, he wished to be their guardian. Therefore, Umm Salamah (rta) accepted the proposal and was wedded to Prophet Muhammad (sa).

A Muslim woman can succeed the most, if she follows the best women in the best generation, which were nurtured in the best house – that of the Prophet (sa). So let us learn from Umm Salamah (rta), who was known for her patience, perseverance, valor, generosity, wisdom, and intelligence.

Patience & Perseverance

When Umm Salamah (rta) was about to migrate from Makkah to Madinah with Abu Salamah (rta) and their son, her family intercepted them, refusing to let their daughter accompany him. The members of her husband’s clan said to Umm Salamah’s (rta) family that if that were the case, then their son Salamah would remain with his father. Thus, all three of them underwent the pain of living separately. Yet, in the face of such harassment, Umm Salamah (rta) persevered and kept to the right path she had chosen.

Valour

Upon the separation from her husband and son, Umm Salamah (rta) would every day go on a hillock longing and praying for them. Eventually, her prayers were answered and a kindhearted man from her clan interceded on her behalf and helped reunite her with them with her family’s permission. She traveled to Madinah alone, as nobody from her family was willing to accompany her. Usman Ibn Talhah saw her traveling alone with a baby and decided to help her reach her destination safely. Her complete faith and trust in Allah (swt) did not deter her from the long and hazardous journey. And because of her courage and absolute trust in Allah (swt) she was able to overcome all odds and complete the journey.

Generosity

Umm Salamah (rta) was well known for her generosity. She never sent a beggar or needy person empty-handed. There was an incident, when a few destitutes came and begged persistently for alms. Umm Hasan, who was with Umm Salamah (rta) at that time, reprimanded them. Umm Salamah (rta) stopped her saying: “We were not ordered to do that. Do not let them go empty-handed. Even if there is nothing, give them at least a date.”

Wisdom

Umm Salamah (rta) was very astute and had a unique understanding of human psychology. After the truce of Hudaybiyah, the Prophet (sa) ordered his Companions to sacrifice their animals and shave their heads. But they all seemed reluctant to obey the command of the Prophet (sa), as the terms of the treaty did not favour Muslims, and this angered the Prophet (sa). When Umm Salamah (rta) heard of this, she suggested to the Prophet (sa) to offer the rituals himself first, and then the others would follow. She proved to be right.

Intelligence

In ‘Biography of the Women Companions of the Holy Prophet (sa),’ Maulana Nadvi says: “Regarding intellectual qualities and scholarship, no one excelled Umm Salamah (rta) and Aisha (rta). Both the great ladies were a store house of the traditions of the Holy Prophet (sa) as vouchsafed by Mahmud son of Labeed in Tabeqat Ibn-Sa’ad.”

Umm Salamah (rta) preserved many prophetic traditions. She enhanced her knowledge by thoroughly inquiring about every facet of religion and then spreading that knowledge. Abu Hurairah (rta) and Abdullah Ibn Abbbas (rta), despite their great knowledge of Islam, would consult with Umm Salamah (rta) in many finer points of the Shariah. In the science of Hadeeth, she narrated approximately 378 traditions of the Prophet (sa).

Moreover, she was well versed in jurisprudence. The great scholar Allam Ibn Qayyim says that from her rulings on various issues, one whole book of jurisprudence can be compiled. In addition, Umm Salamah (rta) topped the list of the Companions, whose judgments on points of law were regarded as valid.

Umm Salamah (rta) was an outstanding Muslim woman. Her exemplary lifestyle is something each one of us can learn from. If we try to emulate her in every aspect of our lives starting from matters of religion and submission to Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) to our innate self (including our conduct and character), we could truly be on the way to success in this world as well as the Hereafter.

Suhayb Ar-Rumi (rta)

Vol 4- Issue 2 Suhayb Ar-Rumi raAbout twenty years before the start of the Prophet’s (sa) mission, around the middle of the sixth century CE, an Arab named Sinan Ibn Malik governed the city of Al-Uballah on behalf of the Persian emperor. The city, now part of Al-Basrah, lay on the banks of the Euphrates River. Sinan lived in a luxurious palace on the banks of the river. He had several children and was particularly fond of one, who was then barely five years old. His name was Suhayb Ibn Sinan. He was blond and fair-complexioned. He was active and alert and gave much pleasure to his father.

One day Suhayb’s (rta) mother took him and some members of her household to a village called Ath-Thani for a picnic. There a raiding party of Byzantine soldiers attacked the village. The guards accompanying the picnic party were overwhelmed and killed. All possessions were seized and a large number of persons were taken as prisoners. Among these was Suhayb Ibn Sinan (rta).

Suhayb (rta) was taken to one of the slave markets of the Byzantine Empire, the capital of which was Constantinople, where he was sold. Thereafter he passed from the hands of one slave master to another. His fate was no different from thousands of other slaves, who filled the houses, the palaces and castles of Byzantine rulers and aristocrats.

Suhayb (rta) spent his boyhood and his youth as a slave. For about twenty years he stayed in Byzantine lands. This gave him the opportunity to get a rare knowledge and understanding of the Byzantine Empire and society. In the palaces of the aristocracy, he saw with his own eyes the injustices and the corruption of Byzantine life. He detested that society and later would say: “A society like this can only be purified by a deluge.”

Suhayb (rta) grew up speaking Greek, the language of the Byzantine Empire. He practically forgot Arabic. But he never forgot that he was a son of the desert. He longed for the day, when he would be free again to join his people. At the first opportunity, Suhayb (rta) escaped from bondage and headed straight for Makkah, which was a place of refuge. There people called him Suhayb ‘ar-Rumi’ or ‘the Byzantine’ because of his peculiarly heavy speech and his blond hair. He became the assistant of one of the aristocrats of Makkah, Abdullah Ibn Judan. He engaged in trade and prospered.

One day returning to Makkah from one of his trading journeys, he was told that Muhammad (sa) the son of Abdullah had begun calling people to believe in Allah (swt) alone, commanding them to be just and prohibiting them from shameful and reprehensible deeds. He immediately enquired who Muhammad (sa) was and where he stayed.

Suhayb (rta) went cautiously to the house of Al-Arqam and listened to what Muhammad (sa) was saying. He was readily convinced of the truth of the message. The light of faith entered his heart. At this meeting, he pledged loyalty to the Prophet (sa), declaring that there is no God but Allah (swt) and Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah. He spent the entire day in the company of the noble Prophet (sa). At night, he happily left the house of Al-Arqam, with the light of faith in his heart.

Then, the familiar pattern of events followed. The idolatrous Quraish learnt about Suhayb’s (rta) acceptance of Islam and began harassing and persecuting him. The punishment was inhuman and severe but Suhayb (rta) bore it all with a patient and courageous heart, because he knew that the path to Jannah is paved with thorns and difficulties. The teachings of the noble Prophet (sa) had instilled in him and other companions a rare strength and courage.

When the Prophet (sa) eventually gave permission for his followers to migrate to Madinah, Suhayb (rta) resolved to go in the company of the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (rta). The Quraish, however, found out about his intentions and foiled his plans. They placed guards over him to prevent him from leaving and taking with him the wealth, which he had acquired through trade.

After the departure of the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (rta), Suhayb (rta) continued to bide his time, waiting for an opportunity to join them. He remained unsuccessful. The eyes of his guards were ever alert and watchful.

One cold night, Suhayb (rta) pretended to have stomach problems and went out repeatedly, as if responding to calls of nature. His captors became relaxed and sleep got the better of them. Suhayb (rta) quietly slipped out, armed himself, and headed in the direction of Madinah.

When his captors awoke, they realized that Suhayb (rta) was gone. They set out in hot pursuit and eventually caught up with him. Seeing them approach, Suhayb (rta) clambered up a hill. Ready with his bow and arrow, he shouted: “Men of Quraish! You know, by Allah, that I am one of the best archers and my aim is unerring. By Allah, if you come near me, with each arrow I have, I shall kill one of you. Then, I shall strike with my sword.” A Quraish spokesman responded: “By God, we shall not let you escape from us with your life and money. You came to Makkah weak and poor and you have acquired what you have acquired.” “What would you say, if I leave you my wealth?” interrupted Suhayb (rta). “Would you get out of my way?” “Yes,” they agreed.

Suhayb (rta) described the place in his house in Makkah, where he had left the money, and they allowed him to go.

He set off as quickly as he could for Madinah, cherishing the prospect of being with the Prophet (sa) and of having the freedom to worship God in peace. Whenever he felt tired, the thought of meeting the Prophet (sa) sustained him, and he proceeded with increased determination. When Suhayb (rta) reached Quba, just outside Madinah where the Prophet (sa) himself alighted after his Hijrah, the Prophet (sa) saw him approaching. He was over-joyed and greeted Suhayb (rta) with beaming smiles. “Your transaction has been fruitful, O Abu Yahya. Your transaction has been fruitful.” He repeated this-three times.

Suhayb’s (rta) face was filled with happiness, as he said: “By Allah, no one has come before me to you, Messenger of Allah (sa), and only Jibril could have told you about this.”

Yes indeed! Suhayb’s (rta) transaction was fruitful. Revelation affirmed the truth of this: “And of mankind is he who would sell himself, seeking the Pleasure of Allah. And Allah is full of Kindness to (His) slaves.” (Al-Baqarah 2:207)

The Prophet (sa) loved Suhayb (rta) a great deal. He was commended by the Prophet and described as preceding the Byzantines to Islam. In addition to his piety and sobriety, Suhayb (rta) was also light-hearted at times and had a good sense of humour.

One day the Prophet (sa) saw him eating dates. He noticed that Suhayb (rta) had an infection in one eye. The Prophet (sa) said to him laughingly: Do you eat ripe dates while you have an infection in one eye?” “What’s wrong?” replied Suhayb (rta), “I am eating it with the other eye.”

Suhayb (rta) was also known for his generosity. In the period of the caliphate, he used to give his entire stipend from the public treasury to help the poor and distressed. He was so generous that Umar (rta) once remarked: “I have seen you giving out so much food that you appear to be too extravagant.” Suhayb (rta) replied: “I have heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say: ‘The best of you is the one, who gives out food.’”

Suhayb’s (rta) piety and his standing among Muslims was so high that he was selected by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta) to lead the Muslims in the period between his death and the choosing of his successor.

Suhayb (rta) was undoubtedly among the shining stars, who contributed immensely in the infancy of Islam and earned a respectable status for his love of Allah (swt) and the Messenger (sa).